The Man Cave: Beer From the Arizona Wilderness

ArizonaWildernessWith the current craft beer boom, we read stories all the time about small breweries that are trying to make it big. However, a recent story we saw in Esquire was really awesome and it proves that no matter where you live, or how much money you have, you can make the “world’s best” beer.

 

Have you heard of the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.? It just opened last September and they brew in a strip mall in southeast Phoenix. You know, right next to the Sonic Drive-In and the self-storage center. They only distribute the beer in their pub and there are never more than eight offerings at a time. Seems legit, right?

 

Believe it or not, RateBeer.com named Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. the number one best new brewery in the world (that’s out of the 2,600 new breweries). Before the award, they had 17 employees. Six weeks after their honor was announced, they had 39 employees. On Fridays, there was a four-hour wait to get into their brewery. It’s crazy to imagine that the man behind this brewery, Jonathan Buford, was on the verge of bankruptcy eight months ago.

 

What makes this brewery so successful? Their passion for nature and the ways it can make a beer amazing. They go out and write recipes in the wilderness, sometimes simply drawing inspiration from their surroundings, and sometimes foraging and bringing stuff home to experiment with. For example, they were in the Juniper Mesa Wilderness, got some juniper berries and did a black IPA dry-hopped with juniper berries. They’ve made other beers using ingredients like locally grown tangelos, locally sourced cardamom, faro, un-malted wheat, cabernet grapes from a winery in Arizona, blood oranges, and caraway seeds. Their wild series is made with wild yeast they collected forty miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona up 8,000 or 9,000 feet under some oak trees.

 

Okay, we feel significantly less manly compared to these guys.

 

Want to check out the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.? They’re located at 721 N. Arizona Ave. #103 in Gilbert, Arizona and in addition to their beer, they’ve got a good pub menu. Open every day of the week starting at 11AM, the guys also do a happy hour/$1 off pints Monday-Friday from 4-7PM and all day on Sundays.

 

Photo

Cocktails That’ll Keep the Vampires Away

BloodyMaryGarlic has a special way of making any dish taste instantly outstanding. Sure, it makes your breath a little funky, but the flavor and health benefits definitely make it worth it. In fact, garlic is so widely loved that someone along the way decided to make today (April 19) National Garlic Day.

 

We’re sure you love garlic in a variety of dishes, but what about in your cocktails? We swear it’s not as weird as it sounds. Try one of these garlic cocktails today and let us know what you think.

 

Bold Bruschetta

 

This recipe takes one of your favorite appetizers and turns it into an amazingly different cocktail: the Bold Bruschetta.

 

  • Muddle 3 cherry tomatoes in a cocktail shaker.

 

  • Add 2 oz. Beluga Vodka, 1/4 oz. olive juice, 1 basil leaf, 1 small slice of garlic, salt, pepper, and the juice of one lemon wedge.

 

  • Shake well and strain into a glass.

 

Clark Kent

 

This cocktail is named the Clark Kent because it looks cool and elegant, but it’s really hiding some intense flavors under its deceptively simple surface.

 

  • Muddle 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic chives.

 

  • Add 2 oz. gin, 1 oz. hot pepper vodka, and 1/4 oz. lemon juice.

 

  • Stir for a couple minutes to let the garlic chives macerate. Stir with ice and double strain into a glass. Garnish with a chive flower.

 

Basil & Garlic Bloody Mary

 

This Basil & Garlic Bloody Mary is going to be your new brunch favorite! You need to make your own basil and garlic infused vodka, but it’s really easy and you’ll find the instructions by clicking the link above.

 

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1/2 cup tomato juice, 1 short of basil and garlic infused vodka, 2-3 dashes of hot sauce, 2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 dashes of celery salt, and the juice from 1/2 a lime. Shake well.

 

  • Pour over ice into a tall glass. Garnish with celery, green olives, a pickle… whatever you prefer.

 

Whatever cocktail you make, be sure the breath mints are nearby.

 

Photo

5 Reasons To Drink This Weekend

2014playoffbracketWe’re not the type of people who need a reason to drink. If we’re breathing that’s reason enough. But for those who need more, here you go:

 

  1. NHL Playoffs: The time of year for slap shots and missing teeth, enjoy all the action on the ice with an ice cold cocktail.
  2. Easter: The perfect excuse to eat 10 chocolate eggs. We’ll be sipping on mimosas.
  3. Lindsay Lohan: Her show was cancelled after a dismal season on OWN. Shouldn’t have had so many cocktails Li Lo.
  4. Oil Swishing: The weirdest trend… ever. We’d rather swish with tequila.
  5. Joffrey: Spoiler alert. But we’re still toasting to the dead king.

 

Photo

Boozy Brunch Spots You Have To Try

BrunchIf there’s one thing we love about warm weather, it’s a good boozy brunch outdoors.  Naturally, we’re on a mission to find the best bottomless deals in the country. Requirements: delicious food, bottomless pitchers, and cheap prices.  Here are our favorite spots.

 

Agave- West Village, New York City

For $27.95 you get any brunch entrée plus two-hour bottomless choice of mimosa, wine, or margarita. This sounds on the expensive side until you realize you basically spend $27 on one cocktail in NYC.

 

Batch Gastropub- Miami, FL

Bottomless red sangria and drunken French toast for $20, need we say more? Not to mention the outdoor seating in the Miami sunshine, they’ve got the whole brunch thing down.

 

Wilshire Restaurant- Santa Monica, CA

More than a brunch, this is an afternoon party. For $35 per person you get the all you can eat buffet and make your own Bloody Mary bar. Free-pour mimosas are also served throughout the day on the covered patio.

 

Where’s your favorite brunch spot?

 

Photo

Booze it Like Beckham

HaigClubDavid Beckham first found fame as a soccer player, but as most people have come to notice, the man has an impressive image that extends far beyond the soccer field. He and his family have a special way of captivating the world, and now, it seems Mr. Beckham has even grabbed the attention of world liquor giant, Diageo.

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Diageo has announced that they are joining forces with Beckham to launch a new Scotch whiskey. Named “Haig Club,” the Scotch is said to showcase butterscotch and toffee flavors. Haig Club will be part of House of Haig, Scotland’s oldest grain-whiskey distiller. With a global launch scheduled for later this year, the company says prices will probably start around $65 a bottle.

 

Back in 2012, Diageo said that they were going to spend $1.54 billion to increase Scotch production over the next five years to meet rising demand, and it looks like they’re staying true to their word. They said that Haig Club will appeal to current Scotch drinkers, but also “those who have always wanted to try whiskey.” They believe this can be achieved with Haig Club because grain whiskey’s milder taste is generally considered to be more palatable for first-time whiskey drinkers.

 

Beckham will not just be the face of Haig Club; he’ll also be helping to develop the brand, its strategy and positioning. It’s unclear as to whether he has invested in the launch, but he’ll be fully involved in it. Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol,” is also involved in the partnership. Fuller is also the former manager of the Spice Girls, of which Beckham’s wife Victoria was a member. It’s a small world after all.

 

In a statement about his new partnership, Beckham said: “The House of Haig has a rich history and I’m proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years.”

 

We think this whiskey sounds like it could be really good, but the price tag is also a tad high. What do you think?

 

Photo

Cocktail Corner: The Beer’s Knees

410643049_640

As we leave winter behind, we’re getting more creative with our cocktails. Most of our cocktails are based in spirits but sometimes when a good beer cocktail comes along, we can’t refuse. With The Beer’s Knees, you get the best of both worlds: the crisp carbonation from your brew and all the flavor of a mixed drink.. Easy to make, all you need is:

 

  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. honey syrup (1:1 honey and water)
  • 3 oz. white ale
  • 1 lemon wedge

 

Combine gin, juice, and honey syrup in an ice filled shaker. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with your beer and garnish with a lemon wedge.

 

Photo

Shanghai Is Taking Over The Tequila World

TequilaWhen we think tequila, we think Mexico. Well that and margaritas. Mexico has always been the hub of the tequila world but there’s a new player on the other side of the globe that’s emerging.

 

The latest tequila haven on the map: Shanghai, China. But the Chinese city didn’t really even start drinking the stuff until last June when China and Mexico ended a decade long feud between the two countries. The peace agreement opened up the possibility of tequila being imported to China and it’s been a success from the get go.

 

According to the numbers, China is on track to being the second largest market for tequila in the world. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll start seeing Jose Cuervo and Don Julio showing up on liquor store shelves in Shanghai. We still hold the top spot but we’re getting nervous. Are we really going to let them take our place as the biggest tequila lovers of the world? Not if we have anything to do with it.

 

Photo

Her Shot: Chill Out With a Cocktail

AvocadoMargAre you stressed out?

 

According to the American Psychological Association, more than half of all women say they’re “highly stressed,” which can lead to all sorts of issues like weight gain, depression, and even heart disease. If you’re the type of woman that is frequently stressed, but you don’t really do anything to relax, today is the day to chill; it’s National Stress Awareness Day.

 

We don’t know much about meditation, yoga, or bubble baths, but we do know a thing or two about cocktails. Here are a few drinks you can make today that taste good and also contain ingredients that are known to be calming stress relievers.

 

Avocado Margarita

 

An avocado margarita may sound a little strange, but believe us…it’s not. It’s actually pure magic. And avocados are loaded with potassium, an essential mineral that helps keep your blood pressure nice and low.

 

  • In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp. celery salt and 4 Tbsp. Kosher salt. Mix well.

 

  • Wet the outside of a Margarita glass with a lime wedge and dip into the salt mixture. Set the glass aside.

 

  • In a mixing glass, muddle half a ripe avocado with 1.5 oz. lime juice and 1.5 oz. agave nectar. Add 1.5 oz. 1800 Silver tequila and 0.75 oz. Cointreau. Top with ice and shake vigorously.

 

  • Strain into an ice-filed, salt-rimmed Margarita glass. Garnish with lime wedge and serve.

 

Disaronno Dark Chocolate Cocktail

 

Chocolate is fabulous for many different reasons, but there’s plenty of research out there that shows dark chocolate may just lower your levels of stress hormones. Also, the sugar releases serotonin which puts you in a better mood.

 

  • Melt 2.6 oz. chopped dark chocolate in a microwave
  • In a blender, mix the melted chocolate, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 oz. Disaronno, and ice.

 

  • Serve immediately and put some chocolate shavings in there if you want.

 

Citrus Smack

 

Vitamin C is awesome for stress reduction; it helps regulate cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and prevents blood pressure from spiking in response to stressful situations. With grapefruit, lemon and oranges in it, the Vitamin C-filled Citrus Smack cocktail definitely packs a punch.

 

  • Fill a tall glass with ice and add 1 1/2 oz. rum, 1 1/2 oz. triple sec, and 1 oz. sweet and sour mix.

 

  • Fill the remainder of the glass with grapefruit juice. Stir and then garnish with orange and lemon wedges.

 

So chill out and have a drink. It’s better for your health.

 

Photo

Big Winners at the World Beer Cup

WorldBeerCup

The World Beer Cup International Competition took place recently in Boulder, Colorado and we were really interested to see which brews took home top honors. Developed by the Brewers Association, the first World Beer Cup was in 1996 and has celebrated the art and science of brewing ever since. Every two years, a highly qualified panel of beer judges hands out gold, silver, and bronze awards in 91 different categories – that’s a whole lot of beer.

 

This year was the biggest the competition had ever seen:

 

  • 4,754 beers were entered
  • 1,403 breweries were involved
  • 58 different countries were represented
  • 94 different styles of beer
  • 219 judges from 31 different countries

 

There are obviously a ton of different awards and categories, so we wanted to zero in on some of the bigger awards. There are Champion Brewery and Champion Brewmaster awards in each of the five brewery categories, based on the awards won by each brewery. The winners for 2014 are:

 

Small Brewing Company Category: Pelican Brewery; Darron Welch and Steve Panos

 

Mid-Size Brewing Company Category: Coronado Brewing Company; Coronado Brewing Company team

 

Large Brewing Company Category: Coors Brewing Company; Dr. David Ryder

 

Small Brewpub Category: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant; Iron Hill Brewery team

 

Large Brewpub Category: Blind Tiger & Restaurant; John Dean

 

Want to see more of the winners? Check out the list on the World Beer Cup website.

 

Photo

Do Our Surroundings Change How Our Wine Tastes?

rose-wine-key-largo-sunset-life-is-good-jonathan-galente

Have you ever felt that your wine tasted different depending on where and when you drank it? Oxford University scientists and Spanish winery Campo Viejo are teaming up to conduct a study that could change the way we drink and label our wine.

 

Professor Charles Spence of Oxford found himself constantly frustrated after bringing wine back from vacation and finding it just didn’t taste the same. He was often shocked to find that the flavors he loved were completely different when he was drinking them at home, even though it was the same bottle. Spence’s continued disappointment let to a revolutionary study that could tell us if wine adapts to our surroundings (or if it’s all in our head).

 

The Oxford professor is determined to test his belief that wines consumed in rooms with neutral colors translate towards bland tasting. During the Street of Spain Festival, a “Colour Lab” will be set up where guests will rate and describe wines while being exposed to different rooms with unique colored lights and sounds.

 

If the study proves conclusive, this could change everything about how we shop and choose our wine. Spence has visions of wine bottles labeled with such recommendations as, “best served after dark,” or “best accompanied with classical music.” Can you imagine? Next time you ask for a recommendation, you could be including your taste in music and favorite color.

 

We have to say we like our wine anytime and anyplace but we won’t turn down a glass in the name of scientific research. Does your wine transform depending on your setting or do you think Professor Spence has a screw loose?

 

Photo